Wednesday, 30 May 2018

The Immeasurable: The Heart


Angel Boligán, The Wrong Needle, May 30, 2012.


An organ and a symbol, which presumably is threadbare, nevertheless it is fresh and relevant every time we see it. There is such fresh pain in the attempt of sewing it back together above. The frailty of love is given a visual presence through the coarseness of what love is not - yet striving to succeed as embodied in the vertiginous perspective of the arm.

Angel Boligán, The Blacksmith,
July 3, 2016.
The organ, other words, which is key to the what, where and why of human life. No Anatomia Cartooniensa would be true to itself without it.

The curious thing about the shape of the heart is that it has two equally established configurations.

We have for one the symmetrical one above, mirroring itself along a central axis, which at once speaks of harmony, i.e. said symmetry, and its vulnerability, when broken along its axis.

To the right its counterpart gives the vertiginous arm an impossible task of its own, this time reason disciplining the anatomical heart. This one has been about since artists were explorers of pathology and would have held an actual heart in their own hands.

Leonardo, because of course he did, drew his about 1511-13 and even if the exact function of the heart was not yet known, interestingly the anatomical heart have been drawn more or less exactly like this ever since, with the stumps of coronary arteries, suggesting connection or severance according to the situation.



Marilena Nardi, December 9, 2016.



The anatomical heart has a history of being the complicated one of the two. It is a working, pumping organ, even or all the more so when severed, and its mere presence is a sign of trouble.

Angel Boligán, The Eternal Border
July 17, 2011.
It is the tormentor. It draws us to insanity until we are transparent and withered. No outer movement is taking place above in this the most intense of dramas, draining her of life. A semblance of a light in her eye unable to see anything is fixating us from our knowing her demise only too well.

We are damned whatever we do. The migrant shall forever be connected and yet severed; the borderline cutting through his own body.

In all of this, and what we recognize as spectators, is the sincerity of the heart in its struggles. It has an element of purity to it in spite of being the organ on the physicality of human emotional life.

The heart remains untainted and has the right to do so even when yelled at by superiors. Since The Nürnberg Trials it is obligated in fact, so that soldiers shall follow their own conscience, and soldiers are in a situation where they are not even defined to act as humans.


Angél Boligán, The Sound of Sanity, March 2, 2012.


Cartooning has a strong element of analysis to it and naturally so, but exaggeration has its own level of precision. It uncovers the drama of human life to the point of its breaking point - the distortion, the severance, the demise - each time worth a five-hour long opera.

Our hearts are meant to broken, as Oscar Wilde consoles us.




Marilena Nardi, The Affliction of Love, June 2, 2016.


The cartoons shown are courtesy of Marilena Nardi and Angel Boligán and must not be reproduced without their permission.




Tuesday, 29 May 2018

The Immeasurable: The Mind


Marilena Nardi, The Stab, June 14, 2017.


"The wing is the corporeal element which is most akin to the divine", Plato wrote.

Marilena Nardi, September 18, 2017:
Madness too deserves its applause.
THEY, who have understood and dared go beyond themselves will feel the itching of wings growing on their backs.

Wings are grown of the lover, the philosopher, the artist. The soul which has seen most of truth. The place home to the gods and otherwise so dangerous to come to near for their jealousy of competition. Theirs is the power to stab that scraggly human left in the dark.

It is of never ending amazement to the Anatomia Cartooniensa that we have an actual corporeal element on the human ability to think, to reflect and know passion into one. A piece of anatomy, which sweeps the hitherto earth-destined off the ground, yet remains physical of nature. The wings expand to the being, first announcing their presence by the itching of their growing pains. At no time do they take on an ethereal state.

This is a fact, which accentuates the very real capability of the brain as a place for immeasurable expansion. Aching to transgress and to explore, it develops beyond the personal point of view. It is playful, and it may be painful. It is one of possibility and change. Such is the mind at its best, urging on itself.


Angél Boligán, Information, December 10, 2010.


Plato made clear, though, that wings are a corporeal element that has to be earned. It is not for everyone.

Marilena Nardi, World Press Freedom Day,
 May 3, 2016.
Which make wings all the more undesirable for those, who refuse to see beyond themselves and the very reason, why wings are so prominent in cartooning: Their precious nature are less about those who lose their wings themselves through the loss of passion, than other mortals locking them up.

Wings are freedom of thought if not freedom of speech too, in that they share their visual features with speech bubbles growing from a certain point on the body and expanding from there, while reflecting on something, even just or most importantly throwing out a question mark.

"When words are pinned down they fold their wings and die", Virginia Woolf said. Words too live in freedom, constantly changing their meaning. Even the specific elements to thinking and talking insist on their freedom having wings of their own.

And so, when the demagogues choose to lock up words, thoughts and the winged, the cartoonist acknowledges their nature by drawing them in a birdcage. Even in captivity they are recognized for their position among humans.


Marilena Nardi, Restless Chimera, October 1, 2017.

Gods are dangerous specimens to play with. We may never know when they turn against us, but that is part of the enchantment of growing wings. They may end up being torn off, but oh, so worth it in the unruly life that is ours. The birdcage on the other hand is the orderliness of vertical bars that life is not. And most barbaric of all, the scissors.



Angel Boligán, Mutilated Freedom, December 28, 2011.



The cartoons shown are courtesy of Marilena Nardi and Angel Boligán and must not be reproduced without their permission.



Monday, 28 May 2018

The Immeasurable: The Soul



Marilena Nardi, From the series "The Gloom", December 9, 2016.


Do we have a soul?

That we cannot answer scientifically. Indeed science may be the wrong place to be asking from, according to the artists before us. The calculating eye will see a fission taking place. The release of energy, when cleaving into parts.

That is, however, only half the story. The one part will be invisible. The other shall perish. That is too neat to define life.



Xawery Dunikowksy, The Soul Escaping the Body, 1918, at Królikarnia.
Photo by Niels Larsen, May 2018.


Life is in the fusion. The pain of opposites; amalgamated by high temperatures and made present by the dirty laws of gravitational pressure.

The separation while fighting for union, or the fission of fusion, is an explanation fully graspable in artistic terms. Impossible to be explained, it is right there before us in the fight for form.

Marilena Nardi, October 20, 2012.




The cartoons shown are courtesy of Marilena Nardi and must not be reproduced without her permission.



Sunday, 27 May 2018

Sometimes All Is Right



Zunar, Malaysian News, May 15, 2018.
The opposition released from prison, where Najib placed them,
 to take on the new leadership after the election.
Najib and his wife are in turn on their way to (eventual) prison.


Sometimes it happens. Sometimes the world becomes just a little bit of a better place even if it seems almost too good to be true, when the right and the good are proven to be right and good.

The travel ban against Zunar is now placed on the former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor. They fell from power following the general election this month and are now under investigation for their billion-dollar scale fraud. They are likely to be indicted, to put it politely.

Let us just take a sentence out to note that this Malaysian reality is a warning to other demagogues:

Zunar, Transformations! May 15, 2018.


Zunar, March 14, 2018.
- all of the protagonists weighing down the citizen.
 - and let us on this blog highlight him, whose courage for years have placed him in a position, where we worried for his safety and livelihood and yet he did not hesitate.

When Zunar was the most pressured, he had the mental strength to continually change his approach to make the highest impact, such as in light of the general election to place his focus on what the fraud meant to the citizens in their daily life.

Najib is drawn without any interest in his own person. He is a type. Zunar created him, his wife and their fellow fraudulent characters into archetypes of a mythology on greed and abuse of power. The bling-carat ring took on a life of its own too. The fraudsters in power created a normalcy as the official faces of Malaysia, and Zunar let them be seen for what they were actually doing.

In later years there has been a recurring academic debate whether we can even measure the impact of imagery in public spaces. That any talk of impact is a rosy-nostalgic fiction created in the aftermath on images that were just out there in the noise of daily life, perhaps noticed, but hardly seen and not enough to even begin to speak of any effect. The debate is but one approach to the age-old smirk at imagery, but let us just point to last week's affirmation by the former Director of US National Intelligence, James Clapper that the Drumpf had not won the 2016-presidential election had it not been for the work of the Russians. It is just the one indicator on how influence works, but let us accentuate that influence has presence and it can go either way.

Zunar's mythology unfolded corruption so that corruption had a place to be seen for its true apparition.

He was so intellectually astute that he continually developed and even changed his focus, such as placing the perspective on the rakyat, the Malaysian people, when he felt it was time to do so. His was never a one-eyed intention; it was a highly creative composing a mythology, however the sad fact that it had a reality. It never turned into a vendetta.

Zunar, September 2016
- a prediction on what is now a reality.
Anwar and Mahathir are at long last the new political leaders.



As always with the cartoons of Zunar: Please, let them be seen as far and widely as possible and in particular: please spread the good news in case it shall make other demagogues concerned.





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